That the Los Angeles Lakers probably wouldn’t mind getting out of the four-year, $72 million deal they gave to Luol Deng in free agency last summer doesn’t seem like a very big assumption to make.
Deng posted the lowest points (7.6) and field goal percentage (38.6 percent) averages of his now 13 year career during his first season in Los Angeles, and at nearly 32-years old, it seems unlikely he’s going to improve much over the final three-years of his deal.
There are two problems with any theoretical deal sending Deng elsewhere, however. For one, the Lakers would likely have to give up an asset if they wanted to send Deng elsewhere, and they have precious little in their treasure chest to offer in such a scenario.
The other issue is whether or not any teams would actually be interested in Deng, given his struggles, although that may not be as far-fetched as previously thought.
Thanks to a friend of recently signed Orlando Magic forward Patricio Garino, who posted a picture of him signing his NBA contract on Twitter with the Magic’s whiteboard in the background, we now know Orlando’s front office has at least some level of interest in Deng and/or his contract (h/t UPROXX):
Hold on.... enhance!
As our own Ben Rosales speculated on Twitter, the Magic’s interest in Deng could potentially be limited to the Lakers taking back one of Orlando’s own contractual misfires:
Biyombo can still defend well so yeah. https://t.co/pL94Cx3xj9— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) April 4, 2017
Although to be honest, no one (possibly including the Magic themselves) ever really knows what the Magic are doing, so get ready to see Deng get sent out for Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja as Orland looks to grab veterans for a title run.*
*If this actually happens Lakers fans are justified in holding a championship parade, even without an actual title, and Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson should be given lifetime extensions**
**This won’t actually ever happen. Sorry.
All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our latest episode below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.